Columbia, SC (WLTX) Children with autism are getting the opportunity to express themselves through a new dance program.

Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College in collaboration with Columbia College and the South Carolina Autism Society started offering dance workshops for children with autism in October.

“It's a safe place to do it and a very welcoming, accepting place for them to do it so it's just a really great benefit for all of us,” Rosie McInnes explained with a smile.

McInnes has a 19-year-old daughter with autism names Laura. McInnes says her daughter hasn’t always had the opportunity to express herself.

“There weren't really things that she could do,” McInnes said.

The mom says she’s glad her daughter is able to feel included.

Company members with Parsons Dance of New York led the children in the latest workshop. The professional dancers say they get just as much out of the class as the kids do.

“They will start off a little more reserved and by the end we'll have them running around and jumping with us,” Eoghan Dillon of Parsons Dance explained.

“Then by the end it feels like a cohesive group and everyone's working together and it seems that the energy has really centered and focused on the company and the dancers,” Dancer Zoey Anderson said with a smile.

McInnes is just happy her daughter has a place to grow.

“She’s learning to listen and follow instructions and she’s learning where she’s looking and think about what she’s doing as they’re telling her what to do,” McInnes explained. “She’s learning to put all of those things together which is a multi-thought process, and she’s able to practice doing that which is really great.”

You'll be able to see many of the special dancers and what they're learned during a "relaxed performance" on Saturday at 10 am at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College.

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